Shifting Gear

The kitchen side of the business does around 30 kitchens a week and also manufactures office furniture, laundries and wardrobes. The restructure of the last few years has seen the company reduce staff to 27 down from 40 odd before the recession.

“By the time of the recession we had become a borderline corporate, a little too heavy in management with a too extensive product range. We had to downsize to survive so we reduced staff and consolidated our product range which resulted in us moving out of benchtop production, buying in our vinyl wrapped doors and contracting out the finishing part of our operation,” says Nathan Moore.

“We suffered no real damage in the earthquakes, but things just stopped – we knew the work would come back and knew we needed to keep our staff. Fortunately we had some very good office furniture work much of it under contract for government departments and this and our branch in Blenheim allowed us to juggle our work and retain staff.

Now the business is flourishing and Hagley Kitchens are looking to expand in the New Year into an adjoining factory. “It will double our factory space and along with the purchase of new machinery will increase our capacity without the need for a lot of new staff – which we believe will set us up for the years ahead.

Hagley’s currently run two Biesse CNC routers one about 4 years old and the other about 6, along with a 12 year old Homag edgebander which is still doing a great job but will probably be replaced following the shift.

“We are likely to get a new CNC as well” say Nathan, “and it is likely to again be a Biesse as the two we currently run have been good machines and we have a good relationship with the Biesse guys.”

In anticipation of the new machinery Hagley Kitchens have also upgraded their software.

“We recently purchased Cabinet Vision from Joinery IT. Previously we were using a range of software, one for design, a package we had developed ourselves for pricing, another for project management and then a further one for production. Cabinet Vision brings everything together and does it all at once – design, price, management, manufacture – with virtually all the input done at the design stage. We have only had it for four weeks and are merging with the old system rather than an overnight change but it is progressing well and we expect it to significantly improve flow through the factory.

“Things are starting to move now but still not anywhere near full steam. I believe rather than a boom we will see a sustained growth period for a decade or more as the city rebuilds and redefines itself.

“A big change for us has been a shift from retail to trade work. Prior to the quakes the majority of our kitchen work was retail now we are 80% trade. The reason for this is that the majority of work is being dished out to the housing companies from the insurance companies, and we simply follow in line.

“At times it can be difficult to fit in with the building process as their schedules can change significantly for all sorts of reasons, you just have to be flexible and have the production and storage capacity to fit in with them.

“It has been a very difficult time for all business in Christchurch and has required us all to look closely at all aspects and make changes.

However for those that have got through the recession and quakes, business looks positive and I believe we are in for a good run over the next decade.”

Hagley Kitchens have been in business for 30 years, the business was divided a couple of years ago with the separation of the aluminium side into a different company, part of a move that has seen Hagley Kitchens focus on its strengths and ready itself for the coming decade in Christchurch’s development. JOINERS Magazine spoke to General Manager Nathan Moore.

Hagley Kitchens
6 Nazareth Ave, Christchurch
Phone 03 961 0966